Formation potential and analysis of 32 regulated and unregulated disinfection by-products: Two new simplified methods

Susana Y. Kimura , Jillian N. Murakami , Xu Zhang , Joanne Ye , Amy M. MacDonald , Jorge Pérez , David W. Kinniburgh , Carsten Prasse , Xin Yang , Chao Chen , Bin Xu , Xing-Fang Li


Received February 28, 2022,Revised , Accepted April 23, 2022, Available online May 06, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 209-221

Water disinfection is an essential process that provides safe water by inactivating pathogens that cause waterborne diseases. However, disinfectants react with organic matter naturally present in water, leading to the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs). Multi-analyte methods based on mass spectrometry (MS) are preferred to quantify multiple DBP classes at once however, most require extensive sample pre-treatment and significant resources. In this study, two analytical methods were developed for the quantification of 32 regulated and unregulated DBPs. A purge and trap (P&T) coupled with gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method was optimized that automated sample pre-treatment and analyzed volatile and semi-volatile compounds, including trihalomethanes (THMs), iodinated trihalomethanes (I-THMs), haloacetonitriles (HANs), haloketones (HKTs) and halonitromethanes (HNMs). LOQs were between 0.02-0.4 µg/L for most DBPs except for 8 analytes that were in the low µg/L range. A second method with liquid chromatography (LC) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was developed for the quantification of 10 haloacetic acids (HAAs) with a simple clean-up and direct injection. The LC-MS/MS direct injection method has the lowest detection limits reported (0.2-0.5 µg/L). Both methods have a simple sample pre-treatment, which make it possible for routine analysis. Hyperchlorination and uniform formation conditions (UFC) formation potential tests with chlorine were evaluated with water samples containing high and low TOC. Hyperchlorination formation potential test maximized THMs and HAAs while UFC maximized HANs. Ascorbic acid was found to be an appropriate quencher for both analytical methods. Disinfected drinking water from four water utilities in Alberta, Canada were also evaluated.

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